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Cliff's Grower Log -- April 2004

April 9

We go now to the tiny southern Mississippi town of Darbun, where we listen in on the private conversation between two gophers. Did I warn you that this was going to get strange? It is:

Guidry surfaced through the as yet unmowed back lawn of a modest old southern home. We're into April now, and this particular morning there was that feeling that the day was yet to become warmer than ideal for this gopher. And it would only get hotter. The thought of another hot, wet, sticky summer was more than this gopher wanted to think about.

Thibedeaux was never far when Guidry was near. The two had been inseparable for years. Like the time when they made several prominent mounds in the front lawn of the city hall up in Sartinsville. The mayor took this as a personal attack, and called in the big guns. Guidry was caught, in a tunnel without escape, no outlet between him and the poison gas. Call it instinct, but Thibedeaux was "on the outside looking in", so to speak. Their burrowing toward each other saved Guidry that day. Many close calls over the years had drawn the bond between these two friends.

Thibedeaux surfaced next. Although it was dangerous to be above ground in the daylight, these two had become accustomed to living one day at a time. Thibedeaux saw the look in Guidry's face as he stared at the house.

"What's up? You look lost."

"Thibedeaux...", pausing for a moment, "Do you ever think of moving on?"

"Of course, we've been all over Waltham."

"No, I mean far away, very far away, to a place with nice, cool delightful summers, and lots of good things to eat."

Thibedeaux laughed. "There is always something good in the next yard, estate, park..."

Guidry went silent. Thibedeaux realized his pal needed to think.

"Come on Guidry, get down! You never know when a man with a shovel will happen by!"


April 26

We'll get back to Guidry and Thibedeaux in a minute, but I'm finally done traveling, hopefully for a while. I started seeds this past Saturday the 24th. The "theme" seed stock this year is the 810 Dill (big orange!) Here is a rundown of what is on the heat right now:

Come back soon to continue the saga of Guidry and Thibedeaux, with some fresh, original pictures from Cliff's pumpkinzone!

April 27

The seeds have been in the pots for 3 days now. I should start seeing some action at any moment. This is the most "tense" time of all!

We now return to Mississippi...

The two descended below the surface, but only for a moment. They could hear a car approaching, leaving the road and driving on the grass about 10 yards in front of them, then stopping a short distance away. When the occupants got out, and walked around to the front of the house, Guidry surfaced and said,

"Hey Tib... check out the white Buick. They even left the door open."

Thibedeaux looked out. "So?"

"I'm gonna go take a look."

Thibedeaux was now certain that Guidry had lost his mind.

"What?" "You're nuts!"

"No, I'm gonna go see if they brought any nuts."

"Suit yourself. I'm staying here."

These two had been through this many times before. Guidry always wanting to take a chance, "Tib" trying to bring some sanity to the situation.

Some of the visitors returned from the front of the house, only now beginning to look like an old church. There was actually a cemitery behind this old church, a common situation in southern Mississippi. Two women walked around the building and headed for the cemetery. There they joined a man and an elderly lady. They were looking at headstones and it appeared they had a special connection to the place.

Guidry hopped out the burrow and made a dash for the car. He knew that Tib would cover for him, without even needing to ask. He stopped behind a wheel, and tried to catch the scent of anything delicious. Scent?

What's that scent? He thought. It's not good. Poking his nose over the sill, he saw. "Ah, toddler, sleeping, with a dirty diaper. Just my luck."

"Hey, what's this on the seat next to him?". He read, "How... how to grow... Gophers aren't known for their reading skills. "How to grow... World Class Giant... Pum-p-kins...". "Look at that picture! They use a truck to haul that pumpkin around? WOW!"

Guidry raced back to Tib, his mind racing even faster. "What'd ya find?", asked Tib.

"Well, no nuts", catching his breath. "But you're never going to believe this." "I think one of them grows giant pumpkins."

"Giant what? I've never heard of such a thing."

"This is a big chance, Tib. We could go for a ride, and in the end stumble across the most delicious feast know to gophers, and "all-you-can-eat", if you know what I mean."

"I don't know, Guid..."

"Hey, the license is for Marion county, just next door. If it doesn't work out, we can certainly find our way back."

"Have you ever been out of the county, Guid?"

A pause. "Well???"

"I'm thinking...", said Guidry.

The man opened the trunk to retrieve diapers and wipes. Then, with him taking his turn at diapering duties, and the women folk still in the cemetery, Guid and Tib took the opportunity given them. It wasn't the first time they'd stowed away in a trunk of a car.

The next time the two had a chance to get out of the trunk and to relative safety, they were at a residence in Columbia, Mississippi. Not that they knew it from any other small Mississippi town. But at least it looked the same, and that was what they expected. With the trunk lid up, and nobody seeming to be near, Guidry leaped out onto the driveway, followed closely by Thibedeaux. They had to think extremely fast, as once they hit the pavement they had precious little time to assess where they were, and where they might run for cover. They had discussed having Guidry look left and Thib look right, and the one that first thought would whisper to the other to follow him. Somehow that didn't quite work, but Tib saw a clear path around the side of the house and into the backyard. That was the route taken. Once in the back, they saw a great spot, a shed which would block their view and give them all the time they needed to dig a new burrow and get safely underground.

April 29

Hmmm... we have a 1/2 inch of snow this morning. But this is good, now I have the moisture to do a final tilling.

This is the fifth day for my set of seeds. This morning the two Momberts, 867 and 1005, are up. I see signs that the others are finally waking up as well.

April 30

Well, work and the beginning of giant pumpkin season has made it hard for me to keep up with the travails of Guidry and Thibedeaux. I hope you'll understand.

Yesterday the 567 Michalec came up, as well as one of the 255 Warren. It was starting to look like anything derived from the 810 Dill (the two 666 Sawtelles and the 978.6 Berard) were not going to do anything. But this morning the 978.6 Berard was up. Now, I'm just waiting on the 666 Sawtelles!

As insurance in case I get neither 666, I started two seeds as backups, each with a 1026 Holland in the background. I started a 691 Michalec (1026 Holland X 940 Mombert) and a 608 Holland (1049 Holland X 1026 Holland). That 1026 Holland doesn't give good color, but it does produce a big and rounded shape.

Finally, I got the "bones" of the two hoophouses up. I just need to install plastic, probably today. Also today I'll be building the first of the dome structures I have planned.


Cliff Warren